This year's winner of the Golden Tower - How I Ended this Summer - has seasoned meteorologist Sergei and recent college graduate Pavel spending months in complete isolation on a once important polar research station in the Arctic Ocean.
"Expanding on the concept of a psychological thriller, [the film] achieves the maximum effect using minimal means through the superior use of sound design, natural and symbolic imagery and the actors' guidance. This combines to send a message stressing the necessity of communication in an alienated society, between people, between generations, between new and old schools of thought," the international jury, which included the Finnish Film Foundation's Jaana Puskala, Israeli director Eran Kolirin, Slovenian actress Iva Krajnc and director Vladimir Paskaljević from Serbia, wrote in their decision.
The jury also gave Benjamin Heisenberg's The Robber (Der Räuber) a Palić Tower for best direction while Gordos (Fat People), a Spanish film directed by Daniel Sánchez Arévalo), received the international jury's special award.
Two films directed by Serbian directors also featured in the festival's main programme. The main character in Srdjan Koljević's film, Žena sa slomljenim nosem (The Woman with a Broken Nose), is an irate taxi driver, a Bosnian refugee, who, through an unusual twist of events ends up taking care of a baby. Srđan Karanović's film Besa is about an Albanian who gives his solemn vow to look after the Slovenian wife of a Serb man who is summoned for military duty during the First World War. The Albanian finds himself struggling with surprisingly strong emotions toward his protégé, emotions that conflict with his ‘besa’ - the Albanian word of honour.
Two French films were also shown at the festival - 8 Times up (8 fois debout) and On Tour (Tournée), as well as the Belgian-made The Barons (Les Barons), a co-production done with France, and the Italian film, Loose Cannons (Mine vaganti). Film fans were also able to see the Finnish film Bad Family (Paha perhe), Hungarian comedy Polygamy, the Polish film Reverse (Rewers), by director Boris Lankos, and the German film Run if You Can (Renn, wenn du kannst), by Dietrih Brugeman.
In addition to the main programme, a number of films were screened within the festival's Parallels and Collisions section, where Georgian Levan Koguashvili, the author of Street Days, picked up the traditional annual Tolerance Award.
The Aleksandar Lifka award honours a film's contribution to European cinematography and was named after the owner of Subotica's first film theatre, which was also the first film theatre to open in the Balkans. This year's Lifka awards went to Serbian director Goran Marković and French director of Greek descent Costas Gavras. Prior to the start of the festival audiences were able to watch their films in the Subotica open air theatre, along with a selection of contemporary Hungarian and Belgian films, children's films, and a special series of ecological documentaries, Eco Dox.